Italian comfort from New Zealand

Redchurch Street is home to a variety of enterprise. It is bookended on the Shoreditch High Street side by the TEA Building (into which I once wandered, mistakenly believing that it might house a tearoom) and at the Bethnal Green Road end by Mason and Taylor, a fine pub. In between you will find the Albion Cafe, the Bangladeshi tearoom Chaat and Allpress Espresso.

Allpress is, and this is entirely based on my own anecdotal evidence, one of the most underrated coffee shops in London. It ticks all the boxes for a quality coffee place – directly traded 100% arabica beans, roasted on the premises; an established track record further afield (founded in New Zealand); friendly staff who clearly know their trade.

I arrived at 8:25am this morning as part of my work-deferral tactics on a Monday morning and was greeted with the sound of the Cinematic Orchestra, the smell of espresso and the sight of plenty of wood. It’s a place of light and air, perfect on a slightly humid morning. The furnishings include old stained wood chairs and bar stools together with painted brick and formica tables. The focal point is the sizeable roaster behind glass in full view of the dining area.

Allpress proudly displays its affiliation with La Marzocco, the Italian espresso machine maker, and I couldn’t help but think that there is something of Italy in the place more generally. Perhaps it’s the traditional furnishings, or the Lavazza-style coffee cup in which my cappuccino arrived. The coffee was smooth, full in the mouth and with just a hint of bitterness. The almond croissant was sweet, floury and tasted of marzipan. Comfort eating and drinking perfect for this time of the day (and week).

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